Tattooing in South Korea

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Tattooing in South Korea has a long and controversial history.

In South Korea, it is generally considered that people with tattoos are anti-social individuals who violate social norms and are criminals, gangsters, or juvenile delinquents. Korean law allows professional doctors to open tattoo parlors and it is not illegal to have a tattoo. Only the army prohibits tattoos. People can have tattoos after serving in the military. [1]


The historical backdrop of tattoos in Korea began in Samhan. There is no record of inking in the northern region, as individuals who worked in the angling business by and large had tattoos on their body such as four leaf clovers keeping in mind the end goal to anticipate wounds. The significance of tattoos changed into discipline in the Goryeo period and proceeded into the Joseon Dynasty. The record can be found in the Gyeongguk Daejeon. Amid the Joseon period, individuals who stole dairy animals or steeds were rebuffed by engraving the name of the wrongdoing on their body. There was likewise a tattoo for recording love, however ladies who were being inked received discipline for disloyalty.[1]

Amid the 1970s, tattoos turned into a questionable issue due to skin maladies as a symptom of tattoo strategies and disgrace of tattoos. In 1990, the Ministry of Health and Welfare proposed that inking has a place with needle therapy, so they managed that the system of inking ought to be done just by restorative work force. However, it is not common for restorative work force to perform tattooing.[1] According to the tattooist organization, around one million individuals in South Korea experienced being inked. The quantity of individuals who work in the tattoo business raise up to two million.[2]

Changed consciousness regarding tattoos[edit]

The number of youth with tattoos and the number of inked individuals is increasing. As indicated by a study led by warriors in 1983, 72.6% of individuals responded that they have not seen an inked individual. In 2007, 67% of residents expressed that they have seen a tattoo. Before, inking was viewed as damaging social standards and figured just criminal do. In 2014, individuals feel that they end up noticeably liberal about tattoo contrasted with the past and they anticipate that the time of inked individuals would be different and the number of inked individuals would increment.[1]

As indicated by an overview led in Busan, 83.1% individuals connect tattoos to the infringement and hostile to social pictures when they consider the term called Munsin (Hangeul: 문신; Hanja: 紋身). Munsin is a Korean elocution of tattoo. They connect tattoos to chic and appealing pictures when they consider the word tattoo (Hangeul: 타투).[3]

As self-perception was the fate of expanded concern, the general population began to utilize the tattoo as a physical and social articulation. Tattoo individuals are getting a charge out of lasting tattoos and semi-perpetual tattoos as a type of engaging themselves. Individuals have turned out to be keen on tattoos of big names, vocalists, and games stars. For instance, Ahn Jung-hwan, a South Korean previous football player, uncovered his inked arm for his significant other in an objective service. This was very stunning to the general population. After this, numerous youngsters affected a change from a negative picture of inking to a positive one of a type of imaginative articulation.[4]

Controversy of legalising tattoos[edit]

In Korea, there are no laws about tattooing, however tattoos are viewed as acupuncture and requires restorative affirmation.[citation needed] Tattooist foundation has asked for law amendment to Ministry of Health and Welfare. In December 2015, new vocations were advanced including occupations for tattooists. The legislature said that law update in regards to tattoos and checking lawful issue is essential. They arranged an exploration about the case in different nations, symptoms and legalisation of tattoing.[5]

Tattooists suggest the necessity of legalizing tattoo for changing an image of illegal, protecting tattooists by law and registration of entrepreneur. The awareness of tattoo is changing around the world; still, it is illegal in Korea. Tattooist iIda said “I can not hang up a sign for my shop because it is illegal, making laws about the tattoo is necessary.” She said customers and tattooists can’t be protected by law. Tattooist Doy expressed his opinion that legalization should be processed for better recognition. He said, “tattooing is obviously not a medical procedure, but some past precedents worsen the prejudice." He also suggested the law, which regards tattooing as a medical service, should be changed for solving misunderstanding of tattoo.[6]

Semi-permanent tattoo[edit]

As the number of working women jumped dramatically, new cosmetic techniques appeared. Semi-permanent makeup provides women all around the world with convenience and efficiency. It also offers confidence and feelings of relaxation. In fact, many social commerce sites are providing various incentives such as offering coupons to increase its popularity.[7]

Semi permanent make up is a cosmetic technique that applies tattoo pigment onto the dermis for a certain amount of time. Compared to a permanent tattoo, it is a preferable cosmetic technique for many people because of safety and durability.

According to Korean Agency, The reported incidences of side effects from semi-permanent tattooing—as written in CISS (Consumer Injury Surveillance System) number 77 cases in the last three years. The Ministry of Agriculture conducted tests on 25 tattoo inks to determine the amount of toxicity; 12 products were declared improper and dangerous because they possessed cadmium exceeding the accepted level. Six products contained lead that is known to cause central nervous system lesions over 5.5 times the accepted level. Zinc, copper, and nickel are components that may cause atopic dermatitis if people are exposed to those ingredients for a long time.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d 혜인 (Hyein), 정 (Jeong) (2015). 청년 타투 하위문화에 대한 연구 (Study of the Youth Subculture of Tattoos). Korean: 전남대학교 (Chonnam National University). pp. 1–2.
  2. ^ "너도나도 하는 타투, 예술 혹은 불법 시술?= Art or Illegal?". news1. 2015-08-16. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  3. ^ 남경(Namjyeong), 송(Song) (2009). "타투와 문신에 관한 인지도 및 타투패션의 표현특성에 따른 이미지 연구" [Study on the images of tattoo fashion's expressive characteristics and on perceptive attitudes about tattoo and moonsin]. 경성대학교(Kyungsung University): 5p. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ 은주(Eunjoo), 강(Kang) (2006). 문신 시술 행위의 합법화 방안에 관한 연구 [A Study on Legalization of Tattooing]. 조선대학교(Chosun University). pp. 20p.
  5. ^ 택영(Take young), 조(Jo) (2016-11-11). "예술을 깎아먹는 아이들, 타투이스트들의 슬픔= Sadness of tattooists". ilyoseoul. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  6. ^ "비의료인 타투시술, 합법화 논의는 제자리 걸음". Kunews. 2016-09-15. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  7. ^ 선미(Sunmi), 한(Han) (2015). 반영구 화장 실태 및 만족도에 관한 연구=A study on the state of semi-permanent makeup and satisfaction. 숙명여자대학교(Sookmyung University). p. 1.
  8. ^ "반영구-화장-시술에-웬-중금속=Codimums? Semi permanent tattoo". Sciencetimes. 2016-10-14. Retrieved 2016-12-12.